“Representing women only in divorce is discrimination!”

Posted on Jun 3, 2022 by Katie Carter


Even though it says all over our website that we only represent women in divorce, custody, and support cases, we get quite a few live chats and phone calls from men looking for family law attorneys. We sometimes even get women who complain, either on our social media channels, in live chat messages, or even over the phone, about our messaging and business practices.

“Representing women only is discrimination!”

This is usually the first one – what we’re doing is discrimination! Sometimes, it’s sad with more or less righteousness, but the messaging is the same. This person is going to convince us that our entire business model is unacceptable. Obviously that’s the outcome, right?

Wrong, my friend. Wrong.

We’re well within our rights to represent women exclusively. Though we’re the only Virginia-based family law firm that represents women only, there are TWO other firms in the Hampton Roads area that represent men only.

Do they get calls like this? Who knows!

“Women are wrong sometimes, too, you know.”

We get a lot of versions of this, too. Sometimes, the women – the wives, the moms, whatever – are wrong. Sometimes they do bad things. Sometimes, the husband or dad is the better human being.

Okay, sure. Maybe.

These stories are usually accompanied by stories involving a friend of a friend who was married to an absolute succubus of a human being. She took him for everything he was worth, wouldn’t let him see his kids, harassed and abused him, whatever. Obviously, in this case, we can all agree – the woman is awful! Right?

Well, again – maybe. But also maybe not. If my time practicing family law has taught me anything, it’s that there’s always two sides to a story. And you’re not going to catch me just agreeing with a random stranger about who was right and who was wrong in a case I know nothing about. (And where, sorry but it has to be said, the person telling me about it has reason to be biased!)

“Dads deserve equal parenting time!”

A recent live chat that I read went on and on about how many of our articles, blogs, and books point out bad things that dads have done, when moms do some (or many, or all – it wasn’t clear) of those things, too. Why do we always target dads, she insisted? Don’t we agree that dads deserve equal time with their kids?
Actually, I’m not a proponent of automatic 50/50 custody– and, it must be said, Virginia law (as of the date of this writing, anyway) doesn’t require it, either. The court requires that the judge consider all forms of custody equally, and use the ‘best interests of the child’ factors in making custody decisions.

There is no preference for dad (or mom!) or 50/50 custody in Virginia. So, maybe you should take it up with the legislature?

Look, at the end of the day, representing women only is a business decision. If you don’t like it, for whatever reason, no one is forcing you to do business with us.

Keep on scrolling, right? Because we’re the exception, not the rule. If you’re a man, literally any other family law firm would represent you – including the two that represent men only. If you’re a woman, you could work with any firm other than ours or the two men-only firms in the area, but there’s still a lot of attorneys to choose from. You don’t have to pick us, if our mission is offensive to you.

Whatever you say about it – whether good, bad, or indifferent – we still believe in it.

There’s a reason why there’s two men only firms in our area, and only one women only firm in all of the state of Virginia! Why’s that, you might ask? Well, I’m happy to tell you. The reason why is because, historically, men have had the ability to pay.

Women, on the other hand, earn less. Historically, I mean; I don’t mean that, in every case and in every situation, the woman earns less. But, today, women earn, on average, 80 cents on the dollar compared to what men earn; for women of color, that number is even less.

Less money means less options; less access to quality legal representation. It means that husbands could abuse them and get away with it; deny them access to the home, to retirement, to spousal support, and get away with it. Threaten, coerce, intimidate, and get away with it.

We’re not Legal Aid; we don’t do pro bono work. But we represent women who are, in the legal sense, often the underdogs. It’s a private practice, but our mission is to educate women about Virginia divorce and custody cases, and help them to make strong decisions about their lives and their families that help carry them into a better future.

We have free books and reports, a low cost monthly divorce seminar, and offer boutique-level service and excellent legal representation from a group of women-only attorneys (we weren’t always women only attorneys, and it’s not by design – but, today, we’re all women) with a depth and breadth of family law experience that you don’t find just anywhere.

Maybe that’s not for you? That’s okay, too. But live and let live, you know? Because we’re doing real good in the world.

For more information, to schedule a consultation, or to learn more about us, give our office a call at 757-425-5200.